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Official Entry (Canada) - Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film

To encounter a film of heart-wrenching tragedy, mythic proportions and sweeping visual majesty is rare, but such are the riches of Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies. After last year’s multiple Genie Award-winning Polytechnique, Villeneuve continues his acute examination of women facing complex and harrowing circumstances. At the reading of their mother Nawal’s will, twin siblings Simon (Maxim Gaudette) and Jeanne (Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin) learn for the first time that they have a brother, and that their father, whom they thought was dead, is in fact alive. Among their mother’s various unsettling requests is her final wish that the twins find both brother and father and deliver certain sealed letters to them. Nawal (Lubna Azabal) was a mystery to her children and their relationship is a difficult one. Simon is angry and resistant, but Jeanne feels compelled to respect her mother’s requests. As a young woman, Nawal fell pregnant out of wedlock in her Middle Eastern homeland. After narrowly escaping an honour killing, she was forced to give up her baby boy, vowing one day to find him. Shifting back and forth in time, Incendies follows two parallel journeys, expertly interwoven: the twins’ journey to find their brother and father, and Nawal’s journey to find her son. Villeneuve masterfully adapts the acclaimed play by Wajdi Mouawad, while André Turpin’s arresting cinematography captures the arid landscape of the Middle-East, seamlessly shifting between shadowy corners and stark, bright daylight. Azabal is riveting as Nawal, while Désormeaux-Poulin and Gaudette deliver equally strong performances as the twins. Moving, visceral and epic, Incendies shows Villeneuve reaching ever greater heights as he probes characters that must face obstacles with extraordinary resilience and love. – Agata Smoluch Del Sorbo, Toronto International Film Festival Official Trailer
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Directed by: 
Denis Villeneuve
Running Time: 
French, Arabic
Lubna Azabal, Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin, Maxim Gaudette, Rémy Girard, Abdelghafour Elaaziz, Allen Altman, Mohamed Majd, Nabil Sawalha, Baya Belal
Screenplay by: 
Denis Villeneuve, based on play by Wajdi Mouawad, script consultant: Valérie Beaugrand-Champagne

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